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All comments by Joel Shapiro
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At my club, I do not recall anyone ever asking an opponent to not alert. If it ever does happen, our directors would tell that player “Sorry, we play by the rules here. All players are expected to alert and announce when required. That includes you. You are, of course, free to not ask for explanations, at your own risk, if you so wish. Any failure to alert or announce that disadvantages an opponent should be reported immediately to the director and will be dealt with fairly to all parties according to the appropriate Law.”

IMHO, clubs that make up their own rules that are contrary to ACBL regulations should not be allowed to award masterpoints. Perhaps that's a topic for another day.
Aug. 12, 2015
Joel Shapiro edited this comment Sept. 1, 2015
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You are being very polite. Almost Canadian. I might have changed that last sentence to “Nuts to you?”
Aug. 12, 2015
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“I know I'm not the only one who's sick of still crowding around a rack to get Swiss Teams assignments. … the Swiss Teams problem is the one obvious thing that everyone has been clamoring for for years. Our tournaments are a laughing stock because of it. We need a short-term solution.”

I agree with much of what Mr. Parrish says, but as to the above, I think he should speak for himself and not for “everyone”. As a TD, I have never once heard a complaint about crowding around a rack to get assignments - in fact, in my experience players prefer this to waiting at their table with their teammates for the Bridgepad to tell them where to go next - especially if they've just been blitzed. Players also appreciate seeing the cumulative results on the wall as the game progresses. In fact, I have heard several times from players who have been at tournaments where Swiss results and assignments are done electronically, and they all say it takes much of the fun out of the game.

As for tournaments being a laughing-stock, that in itself is laughable, but Mr. Parrish is entitled to his opinion.

Or maybe New Englanders are just way crankier and grumpier that the nice Canadians I deal with.
Aug. 7, 2015
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Radiation, schmadiation. What kids today need to invest in is companies that make glasses/contact lenses, hearing aids, and arthritis medication. This is what comes from squinting at those tiny screens and typing on those tiny keyboards all day with music? blaring in their earphones.
Aug. 6, 2015
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I've been teaching bridge to grade 9's and 10's for nearly ten years now. They are in an advanced math/science program, and bridge is taught once a week in regular class time (not after school or during lunch!) as part of their math curriculum. Some of my students have represented Canada internationally and at least one has been on a recent intercollegiate gold-medal winner.

In ten years, the ACBL has not increased the teacher stipend by even one nickel. It took me eight years of pleading for them to supply any more than the Club and Diamond series textbooks - they have just last year started to send the Heart book as well. Much money is wasted sending t-shirts, hats, etc. which get worn once and never seen again. (Maybe this works for younger kids, but not teens.)

In addition, the ACBL imposes a cap on the number of classes they will pay me for each year. I could probably do more, but NOT FOR FREE.

IMHO the ACBL needs to get serious about supporting youth bridge teaching and put some more money into it.
Aug. 6, 2015
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Several years ago, I heard of a player who would tell partner what suit to lead in the middle of the play - in Hungarian. Eventually, this happened against an opponent who understood that language. The offender apparently no longer plays organized bridge.
Aug. 4, 2015
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If you suspect that your opponent is doing this in a teams match, then all you have to do is insist that you exchange hands with him after they have been dealt but before the cards are returned to the board. If he objects strenuously, then you have more reason to suspect foul play - which this is.
Aug. 4, 2015
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Silver, gold, and platinum aren't nearly sufficient.

1 MP = Hydrogen LM
2 MPs = Helium LM
3 MP's = Lithium LM

And so on. That should keep the newbies happy, and everyone will achieve a new rank periodically.
Aug. 3, 2015
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As a TD, I find it hard enough to explain to newbies how it all works, without the complicated math proposed above.

I have a much simpler solution. Forget about masterpoints entirely. Give out cash.
Aug. 3, 2015
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That's called being good sports. An excellent example that we might all aspire to.
July 28, 2015
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Yes - if you're referring to my post to another article, it's the same tournament and event - it was advertised as “handicapped if only one bracket”.

BTW, if memory serves, it was a 10-IMP handicap in a 24-board match.
July 28, 2015
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Well, Michael, that's your choice and privilege - but in that case it's you deciding not to play, not the TD sending you home. In this case last week, the top team that finished second were good sports about it and happy for the others. IMHO that's the best attitude to have, and a good example to set.
July 28, 2015
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Well, no one told me otherwise. Anyone who didn't will probably email the ACBL (not me) with their complaint and I will hear about it in October when I've done six more tournaments in the meantime and don't remember a thing about this one.
July 28, 2015
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The advertising for last week's regional in Sault Ste. Marie specified that bracketed KO's would be handicapped if there was only one bracket. And that's what happened. Problem solved. No one complained. And a top team lost the final match because they won by less than the handicap they had to give. Everyone went home happy - especially the less-experienced team that won the first-place award.
July 28, 2015
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At my club we never play 24 board movements in open games - always 26 or 27. So 11.5 tables will either be an 11-table Mitchell with a rover (33 boards in play) or a 12-table web with a sit-out. Twelve tables will always be a web.

For our NLM games, when we do play only 24 boards, we generally play 8 rounds of 3 boards (I hate relay-bye-stands) with 36 boards in play. This is a test - anyone who complains that the movement is unfair is obviously ready for the open game and is strongly encouraged to move up.
July 28, 2015
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As a TD, the only time I would ever send the top two teams home, or ask them to play in the pairs event, is if they were the only two teams that bought entries for the KO in the first place.

That actually happened to me last week at a small regional.

Besides which, handicapping when there is only one “bracket” is a reasonable way to give lower-ranked teams a chance against more experienced players - that also happened last week, when a top team won the final match but by less than the handicap they had to give, so the less-experienced team got the first-place award. Everyone went home happy.
July 28, 2015
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Re Ed Judy's comment just above -

I do not believe the ACBL is really serious about getting students to play bridge. For nearly ten years I have taught bridge to grade 9's and 10's at a local high school - it's done right in class, once a week, as part of their regular math curriculum. I generally teach 50 to 60 kids at a time (i.e. two classes of about seven tables each, in consecutive class periods). Over all this time, the stipend that the ACBL pays teachers has not increased at all. Not one nickel. A couple of years ago, the ACBL started paying me my stipend several weeks after the entire semester finished, instead of a few weeks after it started - the semester is three to four months long, so I now have to wait months longer to get paid anything. Also, the ACBL used to provide only the Club and Diamond textbooks - only in the last year have I persuaded them to provide the Heart book also - previously the school had to buy those. I doubt very much if the ACBL will ever provide the final two books (Commonly Used Conventions and More Commonly Used Conventions). Instead they send T-shirts and hats which my students, being teenagers, generally don't care for. My students are very bright - most claim to play on BBO - some come to local tournaments - two have represented Canada in international play and one has been on the gold-medal team of the intercollegiate championship.

For many years now we have held a Student Day on the Monday before our Toronto Easter Regional starts. We typically get 400-500 students from grades 5 through 12. I may be wrong, but I do not believe any of the ACBL's high mucky-mucks have ever travelled to Toronto to take this in. Maybe they don't have passports. I'm sure they can obtain them by March 21, 2016, or April 10, 2017, or March 26, 2018.

My requests for more teacher support from the ACBL have so far fallen on deaf ears.
July 20, 2015
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I don't think there's really a problem here - unless there was also some amount of table-tapping, coughing, and/or eyebrow-raising. Some players are just way too suspicious of every little thing and tend to call the director (me) at every opportunity just as a means of harassing less-experienced opponents. That's what I have zero tolerance for.
July 13, 2015
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TD #714 is not Joe Friday.
July 13, 2015
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The best solution to a 6.5 table movement is to send the last pair to come in home, and give them each five free plays as compensation.
June 2, 2015
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